Tiles can be laid all around the home, from entire bathrooms, a kitchen splashback, on any floor, or even around a fireplace. Tiling can be a beautiful way to add a durable and protective surface. The range available these days is astonishing, from delicate glass mosaic tiles up to big slabs of natural stone tiles.
Laying tiles does need a bit of skill, so here are our top tips for trouble free tiling. Try saying that fast!
Remove old tiles
Stripping old tiles off walls and floors can be hard work and, with all those shards flying about, dangerous. Safety goggles and protective gloves are essential, along with a dust mask.
Before getting started, it’s a good idea to put covers over anything you don’t want getting scratched, such as the bath or shower tray.
Tools for tile removal
Removing tiles from the floor might be easier with a long handled floor scraper to get better leverage. A bolster chisel (a stubby, heavy duty chisel with a wide blade section) and a good hammer will work on any surface.
How to remove old tiles
If the whole surface is tiled, it can be tricky to find a spot to start unless there is a loose one to take advantage of. Failing that, put the flat edge of the chisel against the centre of a tile, and hit it with the hammer until it shatters.
Once that first one is out it gets much easier. Angle the chisel with the flat edge just behind the tile edge, and tap it further in with the hammer. Lever the chisel towards you to peel the tile away. If you’re working on a wall – watch your toes!
Prepare the surface for tiling
To best way to get beautifully laid tiles without any sharp edges sticking up is to thoroughly prepare the tiling surface before getting started. Get the tiling surface as flat as possible, without being too smooth so that the tile adhesive has something to cling to. Brush everything down, and wipe over with a damp cloth to remove any dust from the tiling area.
Buy your tiles in one go
Calculate how many tiles you’re going to need, and add 10% in case you break some, or need extras for cutting into awkward shapes. When you buy your tiles, get the whole project in one go. This prevents any disasters if you need another box and the line is discontinued, or the design has subtle changes (which will really stand out against the others!).
Assemble your tiling tools
Starting a DIY task and then realising you haven’t got the tools to finish the job usually means delays and extra hassle. To help you complete your tiling project and get good results, here’s a handy list of the tiling tools you’ll need.
- Tile adhesive
- Tile spacers (to space tiles out evenly for a nice finish)
- Cloths (to protect nearby surfaces, and to wipe up stray adhesive or grout before it dries)
- Tile cutter (for shaping tiles into awkward space)
- Tape measure
- Notched adhesive spreader
- Grout spreader
- Spirit level
- Dust mask
- Eye protection